Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quick Reference to Corn Growth Stages

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

Now that corn season is nearly complete, we have a quick reference guide for corn growth stages and growing degree days. County agents and ag industry personnel were using a draft of this guide for the past several years. The popularity of the document convinced us to make it an official publication.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Drying the 2011 Corn and Soybean Crops

Sam McNeill, Extension Agricultural Engineer, University of Kentucky

Wet weather this spring delayed corn and soybean planting in many areas and consequently pushed harvest later this summer.  Good drying conditions normally occur in September and October and will reduce operating costs for all drying systems.  Moreover, high temperature automatic batch and continuous flow dryers can be used to partially dry corn to 16 or 17 % moisture and unheated, natural air drying can be used to finish drying to the market level (normally 15.0%).  Drying limits for corn and soybeans are shown in Table 1 and 2, respectively.  These are the moisture levels each grain will reach after sufficient exposure to the air conditions shown.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Corn Stalks Getting Weaker

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

Perfect ear, but a strong storm knocked it to the ground.
The hot weather earlier this summer and the dry weather late have combined to weaken stalks across the Commonwealth. As corn plants tried to fill seeds, they had to pull resources from the stalks. That process weakened the stalks while adding more weight to the ear.

We have seen several thousand across in different areas of Kentucky with corn knocked down from strong winds. Producers need to weigh the decision of keeping the corn in the field to dry down or taking on the risk of more corn getting knocked down. Checking stalk strength can help with this decision.

Fields with weaker stalks and good ears are excellent candidates for early harvest. Fields with excellent ears but good stalks may be next in line followed by corn with poor ears, regardless of stalk position. Many operations are spread out where they have to harvest fields when their equipment is in that area.  They may not have the luxury to pick and choose fields. However, if there is a way to pick and choose, do it. The corn is just too valuable to allow it to deteriorate in the field.